Crap, they went ahead and did it you guys. The people who made that House Flipper game that took over my life a few months ago, released some DLC. Luckily, it’s all about gardening, something I have even less interest in doing than cleaning. Oddly enough though, I did 100% all the missions it had to offer in a few hours, so maybe I do like gardening.
No, that can’t be it. The reasons for my love of this and games like it is something I’ve covered plenty before and thus, don’t need to reiterate. But I still do have some thoughts on House Flipper, or more specifically its DLC, Garden Flipper.
Garden Flipper follows the same structure of the base game, while adding in a handful of new tools and abilities. Obviously, you can plant stuff, which can be fun in the same tedious manner House Flipper is known for. More importantly though, the entire DLC involves surprisingly little flower planting, and more revolves around you making yards and parks into livable and presentable spaces.
One of the missions had me clean a trash filled vacant lot and transform it into an outdoor gym. I started by grabbing all the trash I could find, then shoveling out some of the larger portions of rubble on the ground. Then I followed that with power washing graffiti of the walls, which is funny cause you’re using a simple hose attachment you might use for washing your car to blast the paint off of the fences. From there, I bought a bunch of rolled up turf, unfurled it to cover the gaps in the grass, and proceeded to plant some trees and bushes to make it look pretty. Finally, I laid down some sand, put in the workout equipment and some benches, voila, a park was born.
It’s a fun, mindless way to kill some time which I appreciated, but the fun was constantly undercut by the crazy amount of bugs I encountered while playing it. I had consistent frame rate drops, regardless of what settings I fiddled with. Even worse, whenever I would go to pick up a trash pile on the ground, the game would freeze for a few seconds upon clicking the rubbish, then pick back up until I went to grab more. And just to clarify, there’s a lot of trash on these maps, so every time I did this, I prayed to the computer gods that the game wouldn’t crash and erase my progress.
Luckily, I never did experience a crash while playing, but I ran into a ton of camera issues that made it impossible for me to do the things I wanted to do, or decorate yards the way I wanted. For instance, I had to build a playground in someones backyard. You know the type, a big wooden thing with a slide and some shit to climb on it, typical backyard stuff. I decided to put it near the garage cause that’s where I had space to place it. I placed the object, but then I had to assemble it. When you assemble things in Garden Flipper, the camera spins around to focus on the object for you to interact with. Except, in this case, I just got a face full of garage wall and was unable to actually build the damn thing. So I had to move it and try again until the camera behaved.
That might seem benign, but in a game where decorating is the core conceit, it seems genuinely fucked that I can’t utilize all the space afforded to me because of a camera issue. Even worse, one time, while rolling out some turf on the front lawn of a house, the camera left the “unrolling turf animation” camera angle, in a position that clipped me inside of the house. Because the doors are not interactive in these missions, I was stranded in this featureless house for a while. Luckily, there’s a way to restart the mission without losing progress, but it shouldn’t have happened in the first place.
Look, at the end of the day, I love House Flipper and all it has to offer. I appreciate that the new tools work in all of the existing maps in the base game, adding another layer of replayability. I still think the game doesn’t do a good job at displaying information, constantly making flip between menus so I can remember what exact item I need to buy. With multiple brand names, styles, plants, and plant heights to contend with, I would appreciate just a straight up shopping list I can click, “buy all” on and call it a day.
Garden Flipper is fun in the same ways that House Flipper is. It’s also just as rough around the edges from bugs to UI decisions. But, despite all of that, it’s still a good way to kill a few hours while still watching TV or something.